Ambient air quality was responsible for 5,000 deaths in Kenya in 2019 alone according to the State of Global Air 2020 report.
Air quality is the most important risk factor in driving death and disability in Kenya according to MENAFN.
In 2017, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics estimated that there were an estimated 19.9 million Kenyans with respiratory diseases resulting from poor air quality.
The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) published the national ambient air quality standards in 2014, however, enforcement has been lacking due to the absence of monitoring data.
About 33 air studies carried out mostly in Nairobi since the 1980s have shown widespread concentrations of air polluting particulate matter in the atmosphere.
An analysis of the particulate matter concentrations by air quality expert Priyanka deSouza revealed that in some parts of Nairobi, notably the factory dense Industrial Area district, crowded settlements have been unsafe since the early 1980s.
Studies in predominantly slum areas like Kibera, Kirogocho and Viwanda have exhibited over 100 μg/m3 which is above recommended standards.
Black carbon which is a product of incomplete combustion of fuel mostly from motor vehicles has been shown to be a major contributor to pollution in Nairobi.
Older vehicles, in particular, form a larger component of particulate matter emitted into Nairobi’s airspace with some of the highest levels globally.
Researchers have established that fuel economy for Japanese, Chinese and Indian imported vehicles were 2-3 times worse in Nairobi than in those source countries.
The evidence highlights the need to improve the availability of non-motorized transport infrastructure in Nairobi and to incorporate air pollution concerns into Environmental Impact Assessments.